We have been inching ourselves south since the visit to Fontevraud and are now near Lacanau Ocean, in the Médoc.
First stop was in an Aire by this lake in Parthenay. We had planned to move straight on to Soubrise, near Rochefort, in the morning but we met an elderly French guy on the early morning constitutional around the lake and he persuaded us to walk in to old Parthenay, which was well worth an amble up the road.
View from Citadel
Next stop was an Aire at Bourcefranc-Le-Chapus, on the coast looking over to the Isle d’Oleron. We had been planning to overnight at the well reviewed aire at Soubrise but when we got there it was full, so we moved 10 miles or so down the coast to this aire. It was low water in the morning and loads of locals descended on a shellfish hunt…maybe cockles. I did ask one of the gum booted brigade what he was digging for but couldn’t recognise or remember his answer.
The next morning we drove to Royan and got a bit lost in some slightly narrow streets then eventually arrived unscathed in the Ferry Port. No need to book….just turn up, cough up (47 euros) and drive up the ramp on to the ferry. There are sailings every 1 to 2 hours.
The Ferry drops you off at Verdon-sur-Mer, which is at the tip of the Médoc, the rich wine growing region to the Northwest of Bordeaux. We drove to Soulac sur Mer, about 6 miles South of Verdon, on the Atlantic coast, and stopped in an aire about 50 yards from the sand dunes and the beach.
There is good cycling here at Soulac; traffic free pistes through the pine forests.
Sunrise at Soulac
The next day we moved on to Lac d’Hourtin, the biggest natural lake in France. We stayed in a quiet Aire tucked away in the forest, close to Maubisson.
We cycled to the Lake, and then on West to the ocean, which is about 3 km along another excellent cycleway.